Datin Paduka Tunku Khadijah loves animals. You can see it from the way she happily caresses Wacintha’s neck—he’s fondly called Wally by the family—as he took her gentle ministrations in a calm demeanour. The beloved steed belongs to her granddaughter Natasha, who has ridden Wally at showjumping competitions. Tunku Khadijah’s daughter Datin Sri Sharifah Menyalara (Lara) Hussein, who took up horse riding at a young age, introduced her own daughters Natasha and Natalya to the sport and they eventually became seasoned equestrians themselves, having won gold and bronze medals at the Sukma and SEA Games.
This shared love for horses is hardly surprising, as it was one that was passed down from Tunku Khadijah’s father, Tunku Abdul Rahman, our nation’s founding father. Lara said that her grandfather was very passionate about horses and used to breed them in Penang and Kuala Lumpur. “He’d put them in air-conditioned stables,” she says.
It was not the only thing that was passed down. Tunku Abdul Rahman was known for treating everyone fairly and equally no matter their station in life, and Tunku Khadijah and her progeny are very much the same. Ask anyone who knows the lady fairly well, and they’d tell you that Tunku Khadijah is a people person; she has a way of making anyone feel at ease in her presence and accepts people as they are. She certainly is her father’s daughter as she shares his values like integrity and the importance of family, and they both possess the same generosity of spirit and kind heart.
She also shares the same sense of humour, the streak of independence, and a love for driving fast. As she approaches her 90th birthday, she shares recollection about her life as she walks down memory lane with us.